After the success of the MCU’s 2018 Black Panther, fans were eager for what would come next for the Wakanda hero. However, when Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa, tragically succumbed to his battle with cancer in 2020, the future of the Black Panther franchise was up in the air. Would T’Challa get recast? How would the MCU deal with Chadwick’s absence?
While Marvel Studios revealed that they would not be recasting T’Challa, they didn’t share exactly how they’d move forward with the Black Panther franchise without his character. Now that the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has finally been released, it’s clear that Black Panther somehow died in the MCU. But how did he die?
The ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ trailer shows that Black Panther died in the MCU.
Now that the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is here, we have at least some answers as to how the MCU will handle T’Challa’s absence going forward. In the trailer, it seems as if T’Challa’s life is in memoriam, and his family and country attend his funeral. So while it’s clear that Black Panther died, along with the actor who played him, this all happened off-screen.
This means that between the time of Avengers: Endgame and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, something happened to T’Challa. While the audience watching the film is likely to know that Chadwick passed away before filming the sequel, the trailer doesn’t make clear exactly how Black Panther died.
Rumors suggest that Black Panther’s death is less eventful than his life was.
While many Marvel heroes die heroically in the battle with the enemy (for example, Black Widow and Iron Man against Thanos), some may have a much more quiet death. In 2020, Marvel leaker Mikey Sutton revealed to Geekosity:
“T’Challa’s passing will reflect the sad reality of how Boseman died, from a disease. Whether this is cancer or not, I am not currently aware but that seems to be the likely scenario, a way of honoring the actor, and acknowledging that everyone, even superheroes, can succumb to a real-life illness.”
There are no sources confirming this, but Mikey later confirms that insiders said, “T’Challa loses his life to cancer. No colorful foe takes him to the grave. There’s no gigantic fist fight. No otherworldly battle. It’s cancer.” It would be a fitting tribute to Chadwick Boseman for his hero’s demise to be similar to his own. And as we’ve now seen in Thor: Love and Thunder, dying on the battlefield of cancer is definitely still a heroic way to go.
Even though Black Panther: Wakanda Forever officially marks the absence of T’Challa in the MCU’s future, this doesn’t mean it’s the end for the Black Panther. Like several other heroes in the MCU, it’s possible that someone new will pick up the Black Panther mantle.
In the comic books, T’Challa’s genius sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) takes on the Black Panther identity. Many fans think that’s destined to happen in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, although it’s possible that War Dog Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) or Okoye (Danai Gurira) could take the title.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is set to release in theaters on November 11.